7 killed as lorry mows into Cong Rally in Kerala

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Kochi, Mar 27 (UNI) Seven people were killed and 30 injured when a sand-laden tipper-lorry mowed into a Congress rally at Pothanikadu near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam District this evening.

Police said Pradeesh (19) succumbed to his injuries at the local hospital. Five of the deceased were identified as V P Pathrose, Kuriakose, Iype, Kuttappan and Esho Abraham, all hailing from Pothanikadu Panchayat. The other person was yet to be identified.

The accident occurred when the lorry mowed into the middle part of the rally from a pocket road near to the Pothanikadu Panchayat Office, police added.

About 30 people were injured and eight of them who sustained serious injuries were admitted to city hospitals.

The lorry driver, who was injured as public attacked him, was arrested by the police.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan had sought a report on the incident from Ernakulam District Collector A P M Mohammed Hanish.

When contacted Mr Hanish said ''I will submit the report as soon as possible.'' State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan visited the accident spot and reviewed the situation.

A large posse of policemen under Central Zone IG Vinson M Paul was stationed at the spot as tension prevailed in the area following the incident.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy cut short his visit to Malappuram District and rushed to the accident site.

KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala, who was in New Delhi, expressed shock and anguish while demanding an inquiry into the accident.

KPCC Spokesperson said the party would observe a day's mourning across the State and three-day's mourning in the district.

The rally was to be addressed by Congress Leaders V M Sudheeran and P J Poulose.


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